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Toilet paper brands twitchy as online chatter builds for wet wipe ass-wipes

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June 24, 2007 8:08 by



wet wipes, kimberley clark, proctor & gamble, pr, chatter, fans, toilet paperFMCG businesses are usually a hot bed of product innovation. Chuck enough new product out there, the theory goes, and some of it may stick. The most successful may even create a new category.

So it was in 2001 when Proctor and Gamble and Kimberly-Clark announced plans for adult wet wipes. The latter described the launch of its Cottonelle Fresh Rollwipes as “the most significant category innovation since toilet paper first appeared in roll form in 1890.”

P&G claimed nearly two thirds of Americans had used some form of moist towel for cleansing purposes. KC hoped for $600 million in annual sales by 2007. Both spent millions of dollars on advertising trying to change consumers’ habits.

It didn’t happen. The only thing flushed down the toilet was the ad money. US consumers stubbornly stuck to dry paper.

The two companies have since scaled back their product line up, ad spend, and ambition. But rather than give up completely, wet wipe fans have taken message online. With above-the-line advertising having failed, this more subtle, conversational approach may yet work.

AAAA That’s Five A’s ‘A Wet-Wipe Manifesto‘ is one such example. Would you eat off plates that instead of being washed, had been wiped with a dry paper towel, it asks?

Another posting, by former Dubai resident Chris DiClerico, an American convert to the ‘ass nozzle’ found in Dubai washrooms, talks of a ‘cleaner, fresher experience, especially in the heat of the desert summer’.

Both claim converts. And both have generated a debate as to the future of Toilet 2.0 - one advocate backs the dry-wet-dry method. It may be that wet wipes are addition to, rather a replacement for, dry toilet paper.

It may be seven years too late, but with more debate, and more passionate consumers, the FMCG brands will be the winners.

Got a view on toilet etiquette? Join the conversation.



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